State lawmaker wants to restore option for police to destroy seized guns

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – It’s a problem facing police agencies including Metro. How to get rid of guns seized from busts or arrests.

A local lawmaker wants to restore the power for police to destroy them. For almost a decade now, police have not had the right to destroy weapons seized or given over to them by the courts.

“There are far too many guns in the wrong hands on our streets. People who should not have them, have them. And so therefore when they’re collected what do we do with them,” says Savannah Alderman Van Johnson who has funded a local gun buy back and destruction initiative.

Senator Lester Jackson’s bill is circulating in the senate now, it gives law enforcement an option to do more than try to resell confiscated firearms.

“It gives them the ability to destroy weapons they find in illegal activities,” says Sen. Jackson (D) of the 2nd district.

“The fact is we should not be recirculating them, some of the guns just need to be destroyed,” says the alderman.

A major lobbyist for the bill is no other than Metro police Chief Jack Lumpkin. He’s not alone though in wanting this liberty restored to police or sheriff’s departments.

“Most of if not all of the chiefs around the state have the same attitude as I just described. We want to have the options in our professional judgment the option of destroying that weapon and getting it off the street,” says Garden City police Chief David Lyons.

Georgia is one of less than a dozen states that prohibits law enforcement from destroying seized weapons. It’s a pro-gun state and the argument is being made this is not an anti-gun legislation but pro-safety.

“It’s been awarded to the law enforcement agency and then either we cut it up or we sell it. Neither has to do with 2nd amendment it has to do with a firearm that is being either sold or destroyed,” says Chief Lyons.

The bill is now in Senate committees. It is being overlooked by the Senate Public Safety Committee. Senator Jackson says he knows the bill will be granted a hearing while in committee and if it receives enough support it will hit the fast track to the Senate chamber floor.

The Senate Public Safety committee meets twice this week as lawmakers return to Atlanta Tuesday.

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